Questions tagged [short-stories]

For about a fictional work too small to be called a [novel] or [novella] - usually less than 10-20 thousand words and no chapters. Use to either identify the media on a [story-identification] question or disambiguate works where the tag covers the short story and its form in other media.. If you are looking for a particular anthology of short stories, use the [anthology-book] tag instead.

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5 votes
0 answers
57 views

What is the short story about a kid scared of the ocean who turns out to be an alien?

The plot is about this kid with a deep fear of the oceans and the big plot twist of it is that he is really a member of this underwater alien race who crash landed on Earth when he was young. He was ...
15 votes
1 answer
455 views

YA sci-fi/fantasy story collection (most notable story being about a dinosaur-possessed crane)

Basically, I remember having this old paperback (which was apparently published in the 70s, although I think my Dad got it second-hand) which was a small anthology of various fantasy/sci-fi/horror ...
8 votes
0 answers
182 views

Sci-Fi short about people increasing appreciation for beauty too high for sanity

This is a story I read online about ten years ago about some shipmates visiting a settlement area (a planet?) that's producing beautiful art. But all the people there are apathetic about their ...
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Holmesian short story about the detective raising magic (?) bees in the Himalayas

I am trying to identify an English language short story about Holmes, spending a year or more in a remote Himalayan rural setting. I think I first read it in the 2010s. I vaguely recall he persuades a ...
15 votes
2 answers
859 views

Looking for dystopian short story where a woman discovers she can't leave a mall

So, I read a short story decades ago about a dystopian future with rampant consumerism. The protagonist was a woman whose husband had received a promotion, allowing her access to an exclusive mega-...
5 votes
1 answer
218 views

Short story about people who are unknowingly imprisoned by aliens in some sort of giant dome or underground chamber

I'm trying to find a short story I read a while ago about people who are unknowingly imprisoned by aliens in some sort of giant dome or underground chamber. They don't realize they are imprisoned ...
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story about alien invaders encountering prairie dogs

This was a one-page ultra short story, maybe three paragraphs. I read it no later than mid-80s in a random story collection and it was probably a lot older than that. There isn’t much to it: An alien ...
10 votes
1 answer
191 views

Short story - advertiser using mind control dart device

I read Jerry Oltion's "Scents of Compulsion" about advertisers using scents to cause compulsive behavior related to whatever the smeller happens to be thinking of (usually but not always the ...
5 votes
1 answer
277 views

Meaning of the title "Now Inhale" by Eric Frank Russell

Eric Frank Russell's story "Now Inhale" - discussed here is one I read decades ago and don't currently have access to a copy of. Therefore I'll ask here: what is the significance of the ...
49 votes
3 answers
6k views

Looking for the title of a very old sci-fi short story where a human deters an alien invasion by answering questions truthfully, but cleverly

Plot Summary/Details I don't recall all that much beyond the basic plot. A human being is taken captive by a group of aliens and questioned. I believe it takes place on Earth and the aliens are a ...
7 votes
0 answers
101 views

Short nerdy sci-fi story where scientists discover that the Earth is falling into a black hole

I remember finding a PDF of this on the internet a few years ago, so it may not be a published work. It is about a scientist who observes unnatural behavior in the sky, and after some analysis ...
6 votes
0 answers
38 views

Grimm brothers talking to ghosts?

I am trying to find a story in which knowledge of historical sound changes is important for talking to ghosts. I am pretty sure one of the Grimm brothers was involved (aside from documenting fairy ...
13 votes
1 answer
992 views

A fantasy short fiction by Asimov about a murder mystery writer whose sleuth comes to life

I read that story (possibly shortish novelette rather than technically "short story") at least 40 years ago. A writer got rather successful with a series of murder mysteries with the same ...
22 votes
2 answers
4k views

Murder mystery, probably by Asimov, but SF plays a crucial role

I read this short story at least 50 years ago. It was probably in a collection, probably by Asimov, but also probably in a collection of murder mysteries rather than SF stories. He wrote so many ...
7 votes
1 answer
897 views

Energetic man and his boisterous son are a better fit as colonists than on an overcrowded Earth

I want to say this is probably from the 1950s, based on the nuclear family (father, mother, daughter, son) and the fact that the father was the breadwinner, the mother stayed home, etc. The setting (...
14 votes
2 answers
4k views

An Asimov story where the fact that "committee" has three double letters plays a role

This is not really an SF question, but about a short story by Isaac Asimov, so I think it fits. In one of his many "mysteries", someone asks for a rather short word with three double letters ...
5 votes
2 answers
378 views

Aliens throw Earth's technology back to 19th century levels by stopping all rapid chemical combustion

There was an old science fiction short story where aliens threw Earth's technology back to 19th century levels by stopping all rapid chemical combustion. Steam trains worked and were armored to ...
7 votes
1 answer
945 views

Short horror story where man's subconscious gives him phone-calls

So I was reading "I Am Legend" and when I finished it I found a couple more extra short horror stories tied in within the book so I assume they were also written by Richard Matheson. The ...
2 votes
0 answers
118 views

Woman travels back to past and pretends to predict future [closed]

A short story about a woman who gets paid for predicting future which she already knows because she time traveled to the past.
7 votes
2 answers
284 views

Short Story (Maybe Bradbury) That Involves a Cloud or Nebula Which Traps Radio Waves

I remember reading this in maybe the late 1980s, and I have a strong inclination that it was Bradbury. I remember checking out a Bradbury collection and reading a bunch of those stories around that ...
19 votes
1 answer
531 views

What was the plagiarised story published by Asimov’s?

In Asimov’s Galaxy, there is a reprinted editorial from August 1985 on plagiarism that the afterword notes was inspired by a real case of plagiarism in a story in the eponymous magazine. The Good ...
51 votes
0 answers
3k views

Looking for science fiction assassination story with mysterious girl

For years I've been looking for a short science fiction story about a man who was released from a prison planet in order to assassinate a candidate for galactic president. He does this on a space ...
7 votes
1 answer
130 views

Science fiction story where all television and radio waves disappear

I remember reading a short story - probably 1960s - where there is some alien intervention - although not the presence of aliens - and suddenly there is no more transmission of radio or television ...
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

1960s short story about mentally challenged fellow who builds a disintegration beam caster from junkyard parts

Looking for title & author of 1960s short story about mentally challenged fellow who builds a disintegration beam caster from junkyard parts. Authorities come to investigate, but by the time they ...
14 votes
1 answer
946 views

Short story identification: misquotation of A Tale of Two Cities ending

I seem to recall having read a short story about 10 years ago where the ending of the story was a misquotation of the famous quote from the end of the book A Tale of Two Cities "It is a far, far ...
22 votes
3 answers
3k views

Name of sci-fi story about a favors-based, cashless society?

I'm looking for the name and author of a short sci-fi history. I read the story years ago and I can’t remember the title of it. This is a society with no concept of cash. Things are acquired when the “...
10 votes
1 answer
159 views

Short story where researchers recreate primordial Hawai'ian ecosystem, find it has an awareness

I'm pretty sure I read this in Analog, but it's possible it was in one of the other magazines, like Asimov's, probably in the 1980s or 1990s. I have a vague recollection of a black-and-white drawing ...
14 votes
0 answers
176 views

Sad story about killing sentient, but dangerous, beings brought by a smuggler

I read this very sad short fiction (novelette rather than short story, I think) more than 20 years ago, in a collection. It might be older. It left me a very sad feeling. It takes place on a planet ...
20 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story where an alien signal containing a DNA sequence leads to the end of life on Earth

I read this short story online some time in the past 10 years. Year and author unknown. It starts on an alien planet where the only life is a red (?) moss or lichen. At some point a gigantic antenna ...
7 votes
1 answer
134 views

Short story with suspended animation dude woken every year for a day, seeing previous crew live, die [duplicate]

Short story. I think in a magazine (Analog or IASFM or the like). Circa late 70s or early 80s. There's a teenaged boy who is woken every year for one day, I guess his birthday. He interacts with ...
6 votes
1 answer
109 views

Looking for a short story about a parallel world with apparently ordinary humans but savage and carnivorous [duplicate]

I read this a long time ago, and thought it was Larry Niven but maybe not. A bunch of scientists build a gate to a parallel world and initially observe the inhabitants on the other side. They seem to ...
15 votes
1 answer
130 views

Scifi short-story a planet orbiting a star that switches between visible and ultraviolet light

I read this short story online two or three years ago and have attempted to find it since to no avail. If I remember correctly, it follows colonists living on a planet that orbits a star that emits ...
7 votes
1 answer
108 views

Pre-1960s short story set in endless forest with cloned couples [duplicate]

Trying to recall an old pre-1960s short story. Some sort of interstellar criminal or villain crashlands into a seemingly endless forest on a remote planet. Blasting a path through the forest with his ...
8 votes
1 answer
664 views

Short story with crab-like aliens who inhabit humanoid robots to study earth

Pretty sure this is a short story, where a crab-like alien comes to Earth in a humanoid robot. He meets a regular human woman, but also finds another fellow crab-like (who he catches during feeding ...
10 votes
1 answer
660 views

Short story about aliens sending messages to Earth and prime math being key to decoding

I read this short story probably in the 2000s, but I don’t know how old it was then. Story beats I remember: Aliens decided it was too much work to actually travel, so they just beamed messages to ...
6 votes
1 answer
95 views

SF short story about aliens with a system for finding habitable worlds [duplicate]

It's a short story, probably from a pulp magazine from the 60s-70s, where alien explorers land on a dead earth, wondering what happened to everyone. They have technology to revive the dead, so they ...
10 votes
0 answers
131 views

Sci-fi short story about a magician who ends up in an alien teleportation device while performing a disappearing act

Trying to remember name of a story in a sci-fi anthology about a magician who ends up in an alien teleportation device while performing a cheesy disappearing act. He is a Vegas-type magician and one ...
7 votes
0 answers
164 views

A scifi short story about a sound file that kills (or turns insane) the listener

I read it online maybe 5 to 10 years ago. It isn't Carrier Wave by Brockway. People would weaponise the sound and try to infect people by essentially Rickrolling them (disguising the sound as another ...
6 votes
0 answers
94 views

Short story about some sort of test or game, with an awkward video call

I recall a novella or short story about a man who has been putting off some sort of test or evaluation. The scene that sticks in my mind is an early video call with the person who signs the ...
18 votes
2 answers
2k views

Short story same as the "Lucy" movie

I am trying to remember the name and the author of a short story that seems to have a similar plot to the Besson's movie "Lucy". I read that stories more than 30 years ago: A scientist made ...
8 votes
1 answer
362 views

SF story about a multi-generational colonist ship?

There was some kind of event and the passengers had begun to evolve/devolve and modified the ship's internal communications / public-address system to use musical tones. I know that's not much to go ...
7 votes
0 answers
102 views

Short story, stunt double confronts actor who is his alternate self

The new "Fall Guy" movie reminds me of a short story I read within the last three years or so, probably online, about a stunt double who confronts the actor he has been working with, in the ...
7 votes
2 answers
590 views

80's Short TV story about a monster in the closet which grabs the mother during the day

I remember seeing this when I was really young, sometime between 1985-1989 but the show itself could be older of course as I know this was just something that was on TV. I remember a boy thinking ...
8 votes
1 answer
157 views

Science fiction story about a dystopian future society in which people have devolved into hedonistic, brain dead slugs

I can remember reading this story when I was younger, possibly in an anthology, but can't remember the title or author. It featured a dystopian society set in the future that was falling apart as its ...
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story about a laser-soccer type sport in which a team defends against shots on goal by reflecting the laser beams

Does anyone recognize this story from an old sci-fi book of short stories? I'm looking for the title of both the story and the anthology, if possible. A laser-soccer type team (reflect the light into ...
2 votes
0 answers
59 views

Story of a young child on earth who looked different, later exchanged for a human boy

30-40 years ago I read a short story of a child with an abnormal feature (might have had just one eye?), loved by his parents and trying to live a normal life. I believe his name was Victor, and at ...
9 votes
1 answer
94 views

Trying to identify a collection including a story with monsters from different planets used to defend an alien base

I had a sci-fi story collection in the 70s or early 80s. I'd like to identify the whole collection. I remember one story from it in particular. The story I remember involved the (human) crew of a ...
7 votes
2 answers
300 views

Alien "sex" short story

I'm looking for a short story that I read many years ago (20-40 years!) about aliens who kind of melt into one another when they are being intimate. Like one could put their hand right through the ...
8 votes
1 answer
159 views

Short story where it's normal to live stream deaths; salesman has to convince patients to use his company for it

Looking for the name of a short story where it follows a salesman going to a hospital to convince a dying patient to sign up with his company to broadcast the patient's experience as he dies in real ...
12 votes
1 answer
260 views

Short story about a guy who turns an untranslatable alien signal into a sports betting wire

I was re-reading Varley's A Persistence of Vision and the Eight Worlds story "The Black Hole Passes" which uses the "Ophiuchi Hotline" setting reminded me of this story. I read ...

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